DJI Air 2S follow modes explained [Gif examples]

Many people purchase DJI drones for their powerful follow modes. The latest iteration of follow mode is active track 4.0, which can be found in the DJI Air 2S. It is one of the most powerful follow modes currently available in any drone, and you can find out more about it in this article.

The DJI Air 2S follow modes are part of the intelligent flight modes available. The Air 2S comes with active track 4.0, Spotlight 2.0, and point of interest 3.0. The follow mode will cause the drone to follow your movements from behind, in front, or parallel to the subject’s movement.

The drone will follow and track objects whilst automatically sensing obstacles it encounters in its path.

Can the DJI Air 2S follow you?

Yes, the DJI Air 2S has FocusTrack features where the drone will automatically follow and track you using advanced tracking software.

There are three flavours of Air 2S follow modes in the FocusTrack features: Active track 4.0, Spotlight 2.0, and point of interest 3.0.

An example of the operating characteristics of each follow mode can be found below.

ActiveTrack 4.0

The drone will actively track and follow the object if you draw a box over it in active track mode.

Two categories of active tracks exist:

  • Trace. In this setting, the drone keeps a constant distance from the object of the scene. The top-flight speed is restricted to 12 m/s in both normal and cine modes. In sport mode, The visual positioning system and sensors have been turned off, allowing the aircraft to travel at a top speed of 19 m/s while unable to detect any obstructions.
  • Parallel. In this mode, the drone maintains a fixed angle and distance from the scene’s subject. In the regular and movie modes, the top speed is 12 m/s; in the sports mode, it reaches 19 m/s. A word of warning: the aircraft cannot detect obstructions when operating in parallel mode.

Spotlight 2.0

The aircraft can be manually manoeuvred in spotlight mode while the camera remains fixed on the scene’s subject.

If you let go of the joysticks altogether the Spotlight function will track the subject of the scene with the camera whilst staying in the same location.

You can see the wat spotlight mode works in these two ways, below:

The subject can be circled, the distance from the subject can be changed using the pitch stick, and the height can be altered with the throttle stick. The pan stick can also be used to alter the shot’s framing.

It’s a very helpful mode, and I’ve frequently used it to concentrate on safely piloting the drone while still capturing beautiful images.

Point of interest 3.0

The point of interest setting circles the drone around the subject based on a preset radius and flight speed parameters. Because it can handle stationary and moving objects like automobiles, boats, and people, this mode is one of my favourites.

If the subject’s height changes too quickly, the drone’s altitude will not change to compensate, and you may lose track. Also, if the subject moves too quickly, the drone’s artificial intelligence lock on the subject may be lost.

How to make the Air 2S follow you

(Credit TECHKNOW BIZ)

Using FocusTrack is very simple, and you can utilise it by following these simple steps:

  1. Takeoff and hover at least 1 m above the ground and wait until the drone is in stable flight
  2. Using the screen, drag a box around the subject you want to track to enable FocusTrack mode; the settings will appear once the box is drawn
  3. Use the bottom boxes to select between the different follow functions (active track, spotlight, and POI). Spotlight is the default mode when you first enter FocusTrack. Active track will also begin when the software detects a wave gesture. Users can wave with a single hand and elbow above the shoulder, allowing for selfie tracking mode.
  4. When using gesture to activate active track it is only the person who performs the first gesture that is tracked.
  5. Tap the shutter or record button to take photos or start recording.

To exit FocusTrack, all you have to do is press. In the DJI fly App or press the pause button on the remote controller.

Who benefits most from follow modes?

The follow modes available on the DJI Air 2S are a fantastic option for many different types of drone pilots and photographers.

I used my drone primarily in follow modes when recording myself for B-roll footage for my online content to promote my business activities. However, there are many other use cases and here are just a few.

Vloggers

Vloggers have to become one-person camera operators and presenters. Tracking modes allow you to create dynamic and interesting shots of yourself without having to worry about piloting the drone.

There are plenty of opportunities to use FocusTrack if you are a content creator. It can dramatically enhance your videos with impressive and professional-looking footage that would have taken multiple camera operators to achieve in the past.

Professionals

Professionals can utilise the advanced follow modes of the DJI Air 2S to make their job easier. Flying a drone is a complicated process without having to capture footage. The tracking modes on a drone can help reduce the stress on time-sensitive shoots with complicated moving subjects.

Also, learning the full capability of your drone follow me mode means you can know exactly what level of shot you can deliver for your clients.

Action sports

It can be very hard to balance capturing great shots and following a fast-moving subject while flying a drone. Utilising your DJI Air 2S follow modes, you can easily capture some of the fastest moving action sports subjects.

Using these tracking modes means that you will be able to focus on getting the best framed shot

Using follow modes safely

Like all technology, knowing the limitations of follow modes for your DJI Air 2S allows you to fly as safely as possible.

Here are the six important safety features you should consider when using follow modes with your DJI Air 2S.

Air sense is not active

Airsense is a mode that allows you to keep track of aircraft in the vicinity. It detects manned aircraft and gives you the best opportunity to take action to avoid coming into contact with them.

When in any FocusTrack mode, the Airsense capability is not active.

It does not work well with certain subjects:

There are a few situations in which the follow mode may lose tracking. Even though the technology is as good as it has ever been, there are a few situations where the drone is simply unable to keep up with the tracked object.

These situations include:

  • objects that are not moving on a level plane
  • subjects that change shape or look different from different angles
  • subjects that move out of sight for long periods of time
  • when the subject is the same colour as the surroundings
  • or when the subject is in particularly high or low light situations.

Any of these could be the reason you notice that you are struggling to track or follow a particular subject.

Cannot track other drones or model RC toys

The tracking software cannot keep up with any high acceleration objects such as RC toys or other drones.

Following the subject manually may be your best option in this case.

It can swap tracked object

The artificial intelligence is very sophisticated, but it can be tricked if there are many similar objects in the scene while you are tracking.

It is disabled at high resolutions

It is important to note that FocusTrack is disabled when recording at high resolutions and frame rates such as 2.7 K 48/50/60 FPS, 1080p 48/50/60/120 FPS, 4K 48/50/60 FPS, and 5K 24/25/30 FPS.

It would help if you learned to fly your drone manually for all of these high resolutions to emulate the active track features.

The final word

This article has covered everything you need to know about the DJI air 2S follow modes and how to ensure that the follow mode works effectively.

DJI will continue to improve on the software that is being rolled out with its new drones and we will see an improvement in the follow modes in all drones over the coming years. The machine learning and artificial intelligence embedded into the drones allow them to follow in very complex 3D environments.

I’m excited to see what the next generation of drones will be capable of.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones. His favourite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!